Warning Signs

I found this quote from Mitta Xinindlu: When exploring, read the warning signs: figuratively and literally.”

When we were in Massanutten, Virginia last spring we were going for a walk and came across this sign.

I almost turned around, but kept going. I can’t say that we were especially noisy and I can’t say that I’d stand my ground if I saw a bear. How about you, Wickeds? Have you ever ignored a sign? Are you a rule follower? Have there been figurative signs you’ve ignored?

Edith/Maddie: A high school friend who lives in Alaska recently posted a picture of a bear who’d come up the outdoor stairs at his apartment complex and was ambling along the open air hallway. Yikes! When I was in my home territory of greater Los Angeles four years ago, I came across signs warning of both rattlesnakes and wildcats on a canyon trail. I did NOT hike down that trail. I’m pleased, when I was starting out wanting to be an author, that I ignored all figurative and literal signs about how hard it is to get published. So I’m both a sign follower and a sign ignorer.

Liz: I don’t mess around with certain types of wildlife either, for sure! I guess it depends on the sign. I think about signs more in the intuitive nudge sense vs. actual signs, although those – like the above – have some merit in these cases… But I definitely follow my intuition. Most of the mistakes and bad decisions I’ve made in the past have come from NOT following it, so I’m more inclined to let it lead the way today.

Julie: Liz, I do the same thing! No matter what the situation, I trust my gut. If it doesn’t feel right, I listen. Also, I don’t mess with wildlife. I probably would have kept walking as well, but I would have been talking loudly.

Barb: I have a vivid memory of driving from the Gold Coast in Australia to Sydney and seeing this sign.

Underneath it said, Wild Horses, 10 KM. The question it brought to mind was, what happens when a herd of wild horses charges onto the road? You die, right? And probably so do some of them. If a saw horses, wild or otherwise, grazing by the side of the road, I would slow down and look sharp, as I do for deer at home. But if the horses were galloping toward me? Moose are deadly, but they move more slowly and travel alone. Wild horses? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Jessie: I love the topic this month, Sherry! I am a huge believer in signs. More than once in my life I have heard a voice in my head giving me a warning sign about upcoming danger. I took a chance and listened and it paid off to a startling degree. Twice it saved me in a car accident. I often wonder where the voice comes from, but I am eternally grateful for it.

Readers: How about you?

28 Thoughts

  1. In La Jolla Cove (North of San Diego) there were warning signs about the sea lions and to not approach the baby seals. Too many tourists were going on the coastal rocks or even in the water to take selfies. These are wild animals, people!!!

    But for me, as an avid walker/hiker, I really pay attention to DANGER warnings such as “unstable cliffs” or “dangerous slopes”.

      1. YES! Or approaching elk in the Rocky Mountains.
        FYI, La Jolla did not have these warning signs in 2020, but added them this year, for the 6 months birthing season, to protect the baby seals.

      2. I once saw a woman in Florida put her kid next to an alligator to take a photo. Fortunately, the alligator was more interested in sunning than dining.

  2. When I turned 15, I decided it was a great idea to travel to the city, the Big Smoke, with all my country bumpkin friends, for my birthday party. I also decided it would be a good idea to cross a six lane road without the aid of traffic lights. Apparently, just before leading my trusting friends across this road, I said: “If I get hit, I get hit.” I think this was a sign. Or at least a prophesy! I did get hit.

  3. Personally, I think most signs are recommendation and not a requirement. We must all use common sense to know which and what to do. If it’s a warning for our protection, it’s best to pay attention, but if it’s one to direct you in a way not natural to you, then buck the system. After all what’s life without ignoring a few signs, venturing out on your own and having some fun along the way! Now the bear sign, as much as I love bears and enjoy them on our property, I’d heed that sign for sure. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Here in Indiana, we have lots of deer and deer crossing signs, especially in rural areas. It’s definitely wise to slow down at night. We had a near miss once, about 30 years ago, when a pair of deer leapt over the hood of our car was we were driving down State Road 36, outside of Indianapolis. Neither deer nor human got hurt, but it was quite the fright!

  5. I am both a sign and rule follower. This summer, my sister brought my nephew to visit and we went to a local amusement park for kids. There was a big sign about all the wildlife that might be encountered and what to do. My sister and I laughed. “Basically, don’t touch the animals. Right.”

    When my best friend was visiting, she looked out the front door of The Cottage and said, “Oh wow. Look at that.” It was a fawn, lying under the umbrella tree in our front yard. I told her it happens frequently. Mama leaves baby to go off and eat, taking her scent with her, because fawns don’t have a scent. “PA Fish and Wildlife says every year, don’t touch them, don’t try to help them. Mother will be back.” Sure enough, a couple of hours later the fawn was gone.

    I see deer in my backyard frequently. Bear are not uncommon (my neighbor puts seed on the ground for deer- I keep waiting for a bear to stop by). My daughter swears she saw a bobcat one night.

    I like looking from the sunroom – but I sure won’t approach any of them!

  6. I enjoyed reading your blog, Sherry! I also read all the comments and decided that I am always trying to obey signs. I like to read signs, especially when I am in a foreign country, which can be challenging! How about “SLIP & FALL DOWN CAREFULLY”, “DINING ROOM CLOSE TODAY. SORRY FOR INCONTINENCE “or “WELKOM TURIST – WE SPIK INGLISH” I have to say that some signs are quite humorous even in our own country…have you ever seen a sign by the road that stated this warning: “FOR FOX SAKE, SLOW DOWN!” I hope you have a joyful day! Luis at ole dot travel

  7. I always heed any wildlife sign. I live in a country town in New England and we definetly have wildlife. I came home late one evening, saw a small deer eating the fallen pears from a nearby tree and watched. Then I heard huffing and pounding hoofprints getting closer to me. I saw Momma Deer running at me. I just closed my eyes and thought, “Well this is how it ends.” Thanksfully she veered off, and she and her baby ran into the woods.

  8. When it comes to bears, I do. I’ve had enough close encounters that I walked away from, I feel like my luck could run out the next time. In fact, I quit hiking in the woods altogether after my wolfhounds died. Bears never came around when I had the wolfhounds but now I’m just another Dash Door delivery to them.

    1. Grizzlies? Better than Polar bears! You know the rhyme, Keenan, if it’s brown lay down, if it’s black, fight back, if it’s white, say good night!

  9. I generally obey signs. I figure they are put there for a reason. But I have been known to enter through an exit or make illegal u-turns.

  10. I’m mostly a rule follower, but I would take a sign like you posted as a sign to be prepared and aware, not a rule that you shouldn’t be there. So I’d probably continue on.

    1. It’s true that’s why the sign is there. When we lived in the LA area we always went to Point Vicente. There were signs up warning about rattlesnakes. That somehow worried me more than that bear sign. Never saw a snake there, though.

  11. I follow my intuition. It’s far more current than signs.

    When the weather is willing, I hike in the woods on my property. My woods are followed by more woods that don’t end in the US until you get to the St. Lawrence Seaway, so it can get pretty wild. We have moose, bear, deer, lynx, bobcats, coyotes, and although I have never seen any, wolf. More often than not, you hear them, not see them. We are loud and smell bad. Go figure. That said, if we are in the spring when mamas are with their babies, or in the fall during the rut, I yodel. If you’ve ever heard me sing, you’ll understand what that makes me feel safe! Although, last year, I yodeled, and had a moose bellow in response. That did not give me the warm fuzzies.

    I am more afraid of hunters. Our property is posted, but that won’t stop a bullet, or someone who isn’t sure where the properties end. I always wear blaze orange if there is any hunt open.

    1. You must live in an amazing place, Kait! Having a moose bellow back is incredible. We’ve seen deer, coyotes, and fox in our very urban/suburban area. There have been occasional bear sightings but they are few and fortunately, far between.

  12. I’m a rule follower. I have to admit I’d feel a little uncertain if I saw that sign – I really don’t want to meet a bear. We’ve had a lot of bears in the news in CT lately – especially north west CT. One bear crashed a 2-year-old’s birthday picnic (and ate all the cupcakes) and another found its way into a bakery. Maybe I’m safe if I’m not wearing any frosting? Any bear sightings in northern VA?

    1. No frosting it is! We’ve had a few bear sightings but not for a couple of years. Let me just say squirrels and birds can make a lot of noise in dry leaves and I jumped more than once when walking in our neighborhood and knowing a bear was roaming!

Comments are closed.